Definitions for jainas

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The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Jainas

    sects of Hindus scattered up and down India, allied to the Buddhists, though ecclesiastically in open antagonism to them; they reject the Veda of the Brahmans, and oppose to it another of their own, as also their caste and their sacerdotalism, though they observe the rules of caste among themselves; like the Buddhists, they are divided into an ascetic class and a lay, but monasticism is not developed to the same degree among them. There are two principal sects, "the white-gowns" and "the air-clad," i. e. naked, though it is only at meals, which they eat in common, that the latter strip naked; "Not only do they abstain from animal food, but they drink only filtered water, breathe only through a veil, and go sweeping the ground before them for fear of swallowing or crushing any smallest animalcule." In religion they are atheists, and admit of no Creator or of any perfection of being at the beginning, only at the end. They distinguish between soul and body, and regard the former as eternal; evil is not in mere existence, but in life, and their Nirvâna is a blessedness without break or end. We know little or nothing of the history of these sects; with them conduct is everything; their origin is of later date than that of the Buddhists. See Barth's "Religions of India," translated by the Editor.

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